Monday, December 14, 2009

Missionary mystics

"The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord.  But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him.  And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, "it was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you.  Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles.  For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, "I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth." Acts 13:44-47

"And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lycaonian, "The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!"  Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker...and [the priest of Zeus] wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds.  But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out, "Men, why are you doing these things?  We also are men, of like nature with you, we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them" Acts 14:11-15

These two verses are a good summary of the missionary excursions of the Apostle Paul and they reflect the true nature of his call and I would argue any missionary call, namely to "bring salvation".  This is the end for which we were created, to reflect the value and worship of our Saviour to the world around us and offer that gospel to them. 

There are a couple of phrases that I want to point out, see Paul's use of the phrase "word of God", so there is a "word", logon in greek, a word, a statement, a speech that is specific of God.  I think Paul might be speaking of the Old Testament.  Why do I think this?  What OT scripture is quoted?  Isaiah 49:6, so he quotes from the OT to argue against the Jews, thereby using what is authoritative.  This reflects confidence in what God had revealed and used up to that point, and still uses, Paul did not use his words, they would've been weak but speaking, by the power of God, through the Holy Spirit, he spoke the words of God.

Going back to the beginning of the verse we see that everyone gathered to hear, "the word of the Lord."  Again there was a reason that they had come, not to hear Paul but to hear him relate the "word of God" using what was proper, the revealed word of God.

The inclusion of the quotes from Acts 14 really set the tone for why they were there.  What was their true concern in being there?  Obviously they saw the overwhelming need, when you have someone sitting there with no feet, the needs were obvious.  Paul's appeal to them was, "we bring you good news...", what is that "good news" of?  "A living God, who made the heaven and the earth..."  Where did Paul get an idea like that?  From the OT, Genesis 1.  Also, that was the end of why they did this, not just so you can be healed and walk away but so that you can know God, to glorify Him.

So here are two perfect examples of "missionary moments", if you will, that Paul shared the good news in the midst of suffering and did it within the context of the revealed word of God.

So I had an experience with a missionary in which I listened for about an hour of their hope for the people that they were ministering to.  The needs can be overwhelming and I saw how the Spirit of God had moved in their hearts and those around them to provide for needs.  I listened intently as he told me about dreams, healings, words of knowledge and supernatural power abounding.  I was listening for one more thing, the word of God, not the subjective word, mind you, but the objective, powerful, living, active word of God.  I was disappointed, I was told how many people had dreams and words of knowledge and how they even teach classes on this.  How the interns come and how they "teach" them to be intercessors, how they will have times where they will be in "prayer" for hours.  How that the word of God isn't really that relevant when it comes down to where those people are at. When he sat down next to me after the meeting and we started dialoguing, I asked him how hard it was to keep the gospel, "the gospel" in that context?  How do you not make it about the healing or dreams or words of knowledge?  I think it was instructive that he kind of stared at me and then proceeded to go back to the dreams, words of knowledge...BLAH, BLAH, BLAH! 

I've been in the middle of this movement before, third wave - charasmania, the most deceptive point of this is not the actual use of the Bible but how it is used.  My thoughts become king and the gospel becomes something I did, once.  I mean, they reason, the Bible wasn't around in Acts, how were they worshipping God?  How were they relating to God?  I need to relate to God that way, throw away everything, its all "new wine", as they love to name their churches. 

They weren't all meeting in houses around town, they were still coming to the Synagouge.  Of course that was before they got kicked out.  And why?  Because they believed what the OT said about Jesus Christ!  They weren't just jirating all over the floor or foaming at the mouth.  They believed things that were revealed by the word of God.

Lets do a "what if" for a moment, what if the apostle Paul decided to share his own words?  I doubt that we would be reading of him first of all.  What if he said, you know what, you all are right because you interpret the OT better than I do, yes, you still can be justified by the law, what am I thinking applying what I see in the OT to this given situation?  Even worse would've been, "Oh you guys are so stuck in this religious system, you need some 'new wine', listen to me I had this dream..."  Some may argue, we'll I'm just interpreting the Bible different from you.  Really?  What is your final arbitor?  Does it come back to your thoughts, what you felt?  What your word of knowledge is/was?  Do you ever question yourself, has that word of knowledge come about?  If it was wrong where does that mean that it came from?  If God, then what are you saying?  God can be wrong?  If God can be wrong than what about Jesus Christ?  See how decptive our own thoughts can be?

Lastly, third wavers make their case for their way of thinking by anachronism, thinking that they lived or want to live in the days of the believers in Acts.  Funny but these people usually like their toilets inside and their windows on their houses, like me. :)  But they don't truly want that, they want no boundries, my thoughts are most relative to the conversation, get around them and you will soon find out that the one with the best story wins.  They try to say that the rest of the Bible is just, as one person put it to me, "letters to someone", nothing more, nothing less.  They want to skip over not so distant history and look past the heresies that have re-formed themselves but yet they think are so new!  And the history of the Nicene Creed where the cannon was formed for that very reason. 

So why don't we have a Gospel of Bob, or Jill, or Laura, or Ron?  Well, we can thank our forefathers or ancestors that they saw this being of importance and through the power of the Holy Spirit made decisions that needed to be made.  Who wanted to read or cared about reading about when Jesus was 12 y/o and healed a bird as the gospel of Thomas reports.  Or who cares what my thoughts are if they don't reflect the only words worth my time and breath. The word of God has been carried along by the power of the Holy Spirit for the purpose of salvation and I, for one, am glad that he has done that through and by his Objective power and grace.

Your boasting friend,


Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Manhattan Declaration

So I signed it.

There is a huge debate within the blogosphere and there is a continuing drawing of lines that can be good and bad. Not to not fall on either side of this, I'm squarely behind those who signed.

I don't completely disagree with those who are opposed to a declaration made by a 'melting pot' of those in the evangelical community. It is very hard to come to some consencious regarding something of a theological debate but this isn't theological, it might be to those who are purporting it to be somekind of in-gathering. Regardless of those that would do that it is clearly not a theological treatise. There is nothing mentioned of Justification by faith, transubstanciation, baptism, soteriology, etc...

It is a simple, well written, declaration on what we believe about the 'core' issues in our society. I work all day, every weekday in this society and we need some parameters to put on the "PC' (political correctness) that is continually thrown in our face. Everyday I talk to gay people and they have no scruples about living in a society like ours that doesn't have biblical moorings.

Speaking to my wife about this and being able to articulate what I saw in the article that I could agree on I think that the ones who would not sign and defend their positions don't work in the everyday world.  If it is a mistake to sign then God will have to deal with me but to have something, that is not beating around the bush and isn't from a dominionist perscpective was refreshing.  I will debate Roman Catholics and Orthodox faiths on the foundational issues that we definitely disagree on, I don't go into this blinded by ecumenism or that it becomes my foundation.

To have SOMETHING that states in words that are pertinent to the world we live in.  Why I believe that it isn't a 'giving over'.

"We as Orthodox, Catholic, and Evangelical Christians, have gathered...we sign as individuals, not on behalf of our organizations, but speaking to and from our communities."

Individuals signing a document doesn't bind them together in more than that, individuals desiring to say that morally this is where we stand.  The only change that will truly come about is by a proclamation of the Gospel of Christ.  Some signing do not believe that but it doesn't define my view of the Gospel or the way that I proclaim it.  Stating where someone stands is just that, a statement.  Unfortunately those in the Reformed community aren't seeing that as something relevant to our current state.  I feel as though I'm becoming part of that, I don't understand why they haven't put anything out stating what the Gospel does say about such things.  Instead of reacting why don't we become proclaimers and show the world what the Gospel will do but especially those of us who follow and listen to them!  Paul said that he did what he did, In II Tim. 2:10, "Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect...", for the sake of the elect.  Bring out your thoughts regarding culture so that I can live in the midst of it.

Yesterday there was a known gay person in my office that I make reservations for, I have a collegue who is gay, my manager is gay.  I have marriages all around me that are in disarray, I can feel the tightening of the religious police who will come into my office and cringe becuase of my Bible or other books that are on display.  I say to those leaders who are against the Manhattan Declaration to come out with something that they can or will agree on to the point that it would compel me to sign and say, "Yes, I can go to my office with that in mind and to the glory of God do my job."  I'm not saying that that doesn't happen, it does, not by my working but by God's outworking.

To know the Gospel and love the Gospel is my goal, I would never disparage it in any way, I want to be a model of God's gracious love and power.  I have a clear conscience, that is a nice thing to say but more than that I want to bring the Gospel and how it speaks to every situation so that Christ might be exalted and treasured above all.

Your boasting friend,


Monday, November 16, 2009

Look, look, look at the Resurrection

"He alone has fully profited in the gospel who has accustomed himself to the continual meditation upon the blessed resurrection." John Calvin, as quoted by Sam Storms in his talk on Calvin on the joy of the last resurrection.

Your boasting friend,


Agassiz and the Fish

I love this story. I liken it to those who would shorten the gospel to the beginning of the Christian existence. But as Ed Stetzer put it, the "Gospel is not something that we get over, its something that we live in for the rest of our lives". Preach the gospel, to yourself, then to others.

Your boasting friend,



Wednesday, November 11, 2009

True Gospel

So you stumble upon this blog and I have one shot at letting you know what is the Gospel.

Here it goes.

The Gospel is for you to know God. There is a separation between you and God and it is called sin. It cannot come into the presence of God because he is ultimately holy and we are ultimately sinful. But he has provided a way to know Him through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who came in the form of a man as God and submitted himself to death on the cross. There is no greater agony that was suffered or will be suffered than what was done in Christ on the cross.

The Bible says that you are 'dead' not one part of you is alive to God. Because of sin you cannot see God unless he comes and wakes you from the dead, maybe even now your starting to see. Maybe now there is an awakening that says, "I never will be good enough to be in God's presence." We all have to come to that, there isn't a 'good enough' button that we can push that will get God's acceptance. You must bow and acknowledge that you are ultimately nothing but a beggar who is in need of grace.

I don't say pray a prayer and it will all be done, God forbid! Cry out to God right now where you are and pray for him to open your eyes, pray for him to wake you from the dead, pray for him to let the scales fall off of your eyes. Never stop praying that! This Gospel is for everyday of the rest of your life.

Finally, connect with a Bible loving church - read the Bible for yourself and love God and others. Demonstrate that love by and for God because it is He who first loved.

Your boasting friend,


Thursday, October 15, 2009

I am (truly) not ashamed - of the (true) Gospel

I just have to say that I'm amazed at what passes for the Gospel nowadays.

I think the words of Paul in II Cor. 11:1-6 would be instructive to us regarding the "accepting" of a "different gospel". So there is something that can be accepted, that can feel good, that can give you all of the goose bumps but not be the real and true Gospel of Jesus Christ. So I ask you, what would that look like? I'm glad that you asked. A couple of months ago, while being a parasite on my wife's facebook account, I saw a post that was shared by a deacon at a church that said we should see the baptism service that took place. So immediately going to the site, I finally watched 2 months later, but found something disturbing. Here is an excerpt from a testimony given by someone who is now a "Christian":

"I had no where else to go, I was looking for something and this is where it brought me."
"...I just had this feeling and I knew that I had to go up there...I was overwhelmed with what I felt...I knew I needed to change my life."
"There was joy and sadness because I had waited so long...I searched for it...I [had] never really opened up my up control is very hard but that is where I needed to go, that is what I needed to be doing."
"I would've never said yes, but before I let myself reason w/ me, I said, YES!"
(emphasis mine)

Okay now, let me give a couple of qualifiers, I'm not doubting that this person had a serious encounter with God. But this is what the Gospel often turns into, an ASSUMPTION, not an actual encounter with God through the work of the Holy Spirit where someone recognizes their sinfulness and God's holiness. God turns into, "something", among other things, faith turns into a "me centered" focus that drives all of God's desires. I mean, when I go and see the Grand Canyon, that is awesome, but I don't want to forget my mirror so I can remember who all of God's affections are on. :) Would the above "testimony" be different from the tax collector in Luke 18:13? Should he have said, "God, be merciful to me/myself and I, I need a change and I'm feeling like you could be the one to do it but I'm not real sure what I need to change, maybe be happier?" Exactly.

As I have discussed recently with a friend, faith is your faith, but it is only operative based on the free gift of the grace of God in your life. I can have "faith" in many things and, operate in that faith, but only faith in God is operational by His work through grace. "But God who is rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, made us alive together with Christ, by grace you have been saved." Eph. 2:4-5

So, back to Paul, I think that what he would say to us today is what he said to the Corinthians, "indeed, in every way we have made this plain to you in all things." v. 6b. What isn't plain is, as I said in my last post, the perspecuity of the Gospel, when someone can give a testimony and never, accept when prompted, use the name of Jesus or see the wickedness of their own standing before God, you don't have the Gospel.

Your boasting friend,


Monday, September 28, 2009

God reigns through the gospel

I loved what our Pastor, Tim Presson, said yesterday speaking about I Cor. 15:3-4, he said, "This is the gospel regardless of what we say or do." (Tim of Tim paraphrase). I was thinking about it today and thought about the proclamation that songs make so often, "You reign" being one of them. I like the song but my proclamation or realization of it does not 'solidify' the fact that He reigns, he reigns whether I believe it or not. That is what Pastor Tim was saying, you can believe it or not, that doesn't make it any less or more of the gospel, it is the gospel regardless.

Praying you believe.

Your boasting friend,


Friday, September 25, 2009

Pornification and the gospel call

So I was driving down the road the other day and saw a sign that was advertising a new show. Now I don't want to be one that would disparage everything that the world does and label it as garbage and not worthy of my time. There are many pursuits in the arena of God's common grace over everyone that are worth time and investment. Many of them cannot be found on TV, one reason the family decided to ditch it. That is for another post, I digress.

I saw the advertisement for, Californication, please don't say that you watch it for a better aim at sharing the gospel. All you can see on the billboard is David D.(sp?) and he is in between the girls who are walking up these steps. It is obvious what they are selling and it does sell very well. But the star has already seen the distress that it has placed on his life, after entering a sex rehab in California. Again, I digress. On the way back from work I get Cougar Town and then to top them all off I get the lie that, "The early church welcomed a gay man" also "would Jesus discriminate?" all within a 20 mile ride from Grand Prairie to Dallas on I30.

Why do I bring this up? We are bombarded everyday with the images and ads that titillate the mind. But further, think of it this way, what a society celebrates in the open is only a symptom of a greater sickness. There is no truth but what comes into your desire, if you like it and desire it then it must be good. I think this is where the gospel is counter cultural, it makes you think in opposite of your desires. What desire comes up in my life isn't to be displayed as true and celebrated unless I have made a conscious effort in bringing it in line with the gospel. Is it difficult in our society, YES! That is the whole point! We have instant access to our desires because that is what a society that celebrates these things does.

So the pornification of the society goes on and will continue to go on in a society that celebrates our own desires. Whatever you want you can have because if you desire it it must be good. I hope that attitude never gets into the chur...oops.

Boast in the gospel.

Your boasting friend,


Thursday, September 24, 2009

I was in the bathroom this morning brushing my teeth and I heard this tune playing in Samuel's crib:

Hush, little baby, don't say a word,
Papa's gonna buy you a mockingbird.
And if that mockingbird don't sing,
Papa's gonna buy you a diamond ring.
And if that diamond ring turn brass,
Papa's gonna buy you a looking glass...

The tune started going in my head but as the lines kept going over in my head, I was thinking of the church's theology today. There is a "coterminous", if you will, theology or philosophy throughout the church. We're born innocent, like God, and if we can just keep that going, what a good thing it would be. How do we do that? By feeding the desires that we think are innocent, let's make life more comfortable. We think there is nothing in children but an innocence that if we bring it out enough it will blossom and how does this happen, lets make YOU the center of the universe.

We are so decieved that we'll mimick the world's 'creativity' and morph them in every endeavour to market God to the world. We will market the gospel and so create a 'tool' that will work for the circumstance at hand, have halloween? Call it fall festival, get candy, generate a lot of energy, give away things and bring people in. What? Or lets do Christmas and have it all revolve around singing and what the people in the choir can do. I mean, God didn't get it right the first time and so we'll show him how to do it. What would Paul have to say, "...what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols?" II Cor. 6:14-16

So, I generate light from darkness?

Man is the golden cow. God, we say, is subject to him and his pithy thoughts, I'm sure they wouldn't want him speaking like he did in the OT. I pray for my son to come to an early knowledge of his sin and his own wickedness but it won't come by 'hush little baby' will only come through the truth of the gospel. I am a great sinner but Christ is a great Savior.

Your boasting friend,


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Great stuff - let's not market the gospel...please

"The first week of September (!) I received my first piece of Christmas mail: a holiday subscription offer from Time magazine. This week I received a similar offer from Christianity Today. That's evangelical Christianity for you: a couple of weeks behind the cultural trendsetters, but trying hard to keep up."

Phillip Ryken

Friday, September 18, 2009

Gospel Driven Life

This is from Between two Worlds, Michael Horton's new book The Gospel Driven Life.

See the special offer from the Westminster book store, awesome!

He has the quote that really was the impetus for this blog:

"We can never assume the gospel; it has to be the staple diet not only for the beginning, but for the middle and the end of the Christian pilgrimmage."

Your boasting friend,


Friday, September 11, 2009

Praying for wisdom

Okay, I'm asking for critique and opinions of how I need to proceed with a further witness of the gospel in a co-workers life. We bounced around emails and this was a response to one that he had sent me back. The conversation started when he wrote an article, in a little email newsletter from our company, about Woodstock and the relative good nature of the event, and if we all just lived in that moment how good the world would be.

Below are the seven things that he pointed out to me of what the 60's really meant and mean in today's culture. These are the things that, if followed, would bring peace and harmony - okay now that I've set that up please read and let me know.

Your boasting friend,



Thank you ________.

I guess my point would be the idea of worldview or the true nature of people. How they generally act, think, create and how those things effect the state of our being and effect the generations down the line. I respect your knowledge here and would not be able in the least to compare with that. I was born in '67 so I couldn't quite catch up to you...:) Although that is true its never stopped me before.

So let me deal thoughtfully point by point:

a) a more mystical consciousness

I think there is little definition of this or there was during that time. Did they define that, or, would that be too 'unmystical' to try and define? I think mystery is very evident within the Ethos of God and so when the Apostle Paul would say, "the mystery of Christ in you the hope of glory" Col 1:27, there was a well defined parameter of Whom he was speaking of. So would defining this take off the edge of what they were trying to say or what you are saying?

b) a heightened awareness of the vital need to take care of our environment

I can agree to a point. I think when we look back on some of the 'greening' we might be a little more than disappointed. And just because some guy loses his job over my own need to be 'green' we might have to rethink some of these techniques that we're using. I would point to the use of DDT in Africa, because of one book they ceased to use this pesticide, as a result a virtual genocide in that country commenced that spread malaria at alarming rates. I agree lets take care of what God has given to us as stewards but lets not deny the fact of what our 'greed for green' causes. Is there even an element of corporate greed on the other end of this? I.e., those who want to squeeze the bigger corporations into actions that are not altogether warranted, basically spreading rumors and talking of doomsday?

c) a renunciation of the mind-numbing corporate state

Cannot say that I don't agree with this, although I want to be thankful where I feel God has placed me, I cannot think in that mindset. I must think people but most importantly God and his global purposes.

d) an effort to live more comunally and to share resources

I think you might like, Acts 2:44 - "And all who believed were together and had all things in common" I think that there was nothing better, then or, today, of having a commonality with others. Kind of like Cheers with Norm and "everybody knows your name." But it wasn't centered on my needs but those 'who believed' came together because they weren't so concentrated on themselves, but they were concentrated on God, they were God centered. In the history of the world I'm sure there was not a people more persecuted for their beliefs than those early Christians but they got together and stayed together because of the One who brought them together. That is a community ethos that cannot be broken.

f) newer forms of expression (particularly in the arts...the goal being to make one completely reexamine "traditional" schools of thought )

Okay, I think I get this. I would only say that it is a respect of those traditions that will lead to greater awareness, hence I cannot just look at God and the created world and how it expresses itself without some type of grasp on Who created and sustains it. I think it would be helpful to insert a quote from a recently read article , " Agassiz died... believing to his dying day that to study nature was to study the works of God. He worked tirelessly to see a zoological museum built at Harvard and when it was finally opened in 1860, Harvard?s President declared it was appropriate that the museum stood face-to-face with the theological school, ?God?s word and God?s works mutually illustrating each other.? I think that it requires digging into the traditions of past generations to see mistakes and triumphs but ultimately to see how God works through it. That is why I'm reading the biography of Andrew Jackson, amazing to see what he lived through to become the 7th president, also what our Union survived through, we would still be speaking with a British accent if it weren't for some of these brave souls. Are the 'newer forms' without any moorings on the past? When you say, 'reexamine', it brings to mind suspiciousness or casting a 'weary eye' toward something. What if there is found to be incompatibility in the newer v. older? What would be the criteria by which it is judged to be copasetic?

e) and lastly, (and perhaps most important of all), an appreciation for the sheer miraculous joy of existence.

What about the person with a disability or those born into starvation? I'm really not trying to bust your chops because I think God has purposes in both of them, if he did not then they would not exist. That is my worldview coming into it. I think it is instructive to see the depression, anxiety, and psychosis that grips our society because of the vacuum that an entertainment driven society requires. We don't want to think about suffering but it is a fact of every living human being. George MacDonald, CS Lewis' pastor, wrote this at the forward of CS Lewis' book The Problem with Pain, "Jesus Christ came into this world, not so that men might not suffer, but that in their suffering they might become like him". See I believe that the world revolves around Truth, not my truth, not your truth but a Truth that is Objective and clear, it provides purpose and ultimately unspeakable, unshakable JOY! So that the parents, caring for their 18 y/o son, who will never make it out of a wheelchair, and will spend all of his life immobile, and unable to speak, can find joy in the process of caring and loving a circumstance that is most unlovable. I'm not saying that it happens overnight, it could take 8-10-12 years or eternity to understand the joy filled purpose which God sent that into our lives. I believe that it is ultimately a joyous thing to find all my treasure in God and live in such a way that every circumstance speaks to His glory. Again this is a juxtaposition of joy but yet an awesome union in the end. What do you say? How do you derive joy from the everyday mundane tasks? How is it that ones existence is a 'joy' even when those circumstances don't pan out?


Finally, I'll just leave you with another quote that I just recently read:

In the book by Alan Jacobs, Original Sin, "The book included this gem of a quotation from novelist Rebecca West: "If the whole human race lay in one grave, the epitaph on its headstone might well be: 'It seemed like a good idea at the time'."

Take care my friend,


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Gospel Urgency

Stumbled on this gem and thought it would go well with my post here and this is Richard Baxter, a puritan minister, who lived in the 18th century. What a timely word for me and those who we might come in contact with. Enjoy.

Oh, if you have the hearts of Christians or of men in you, let them yearn towards your poor ignorant, ungodly neighbours. Alas, there is but a step betwixt them and death and hell; many hundred diseases are waiting ready to seize on them, and if they die unregenerate, they are lost forever.

Have you hearts of rock, that cannot pity men in such a case as this? If you believe not the Word of God, and the danger of sinners, why are you Christians yourselves? If you do believe it, why do you not bestir yourself to the helping of others? Do you not care who is damned, so you be saved? If so, you have sufficient cause to pity yourselves, for it is a frame of spirit utterly inconsistent with grace. . . .

Dost thou live close by them, or meet them in the streets, or labour with them, or travel with them, or sit and talk with them, and say nothing to them of their souls, or the life to come? If their houses were on fire, thou wouldst run and help them; and wilt thou not help them when their souls are almost at the fire of hell?

(Cited in I. D. E. Thomas, A Puritan Golden Treasury [Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1977], 92–93)

(HT:Pulpit Magazine)

How great is our God!

Just some images from the Hubble space station. In the lower left hand corner they say that the image only shows a fraction of the 10,000,000 stars in that galaxy.

We are so small and insignificant in this vast universe, makes you think of the words of the Psalmist in chapter 8, "When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon the stars that you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him." (3-4) When was the last time that you just sat down and attributed glory to God for all that he does in the universe? That you are reading this right now is an act of his grace. Please know that I'm a poor begger with you, when I see these things my mind embraces a God whose infinite nature no one can fathom. Are you the center of your universe? When was the last time you made something like that? 10 million stars are nothing comparitively to the mind blowing fullness of this God. He ordains that these galaxies form and he ordains that you breath, He ordains you getting up and lying down. Makes you think of the Apostle Paul's words in Rom. 11:33-36, "Oh the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments and inscrutable his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord or who has been his counselor? Or who has given him a gift to him that he might be repaid? For from him and through him and to him are all things to him be the glory both now and forever. Amen."

Your boasting friend,


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Puritans on the pilgrimage

I thought it so refreshing Sunday when asking questions of our pastor that he said, paraphrasing Tim style, although his name is Tim: "I like the Puritans because they connected heart and head...although I like their seriousness I don't have that all down in my life." It was a sincere, honest answer which I think anyone who studies the Puritans can gain from. We will never, most probably, be able to live their lives but can we be imitators in some aspects?

How much the church does need this, a seriousness of Communion with God that would pervade our talk and life. This quote, is a long one, but one who, I think, more than any living peson has studied the Puritan's way of life, JI Packer, said:

" . . whereas to the Puritans communion with God was a great thing, to evangelicals today it is a comparatively small thing. The Puritans were concerned about communion with God in a way that we are not. The measure of our unconcern is the little that we say about it. When Christians meet, they talk to each other about their Christian work and Christian interests, their Christian acquaintances, the state of the churches, and the problems of theology—but rarely of their daily experience of God. Modern Christian books and magazines contain much about Christian doctrine, Christian standards, problems of Christian conduct, techniques of Christian service—but little about the inner realities of fellowship with God. Our sermons contain much sound doctrine—but little relating to the converse between the soul and the Saviour. We do not spend much time, alone or together, in dwelling on the wonder of the fact that God and sinners have communion at all; no, we just take that for granted, and give our minds to other matters. Thus we make it plain that communion with God is a small thing to us. But how different were the Puritans! The whole aim of their ‘practical and experimental’ preaching and writing was to explore the reaches of the doctrine and practice of man’s communion with God."

Oh that my aim and the gospel might be with me everyday to feast on and when I see others along this journey to feast. After reading William Gurnall's, The Christian in Complete Armor, Vol 1, I'm convinced that the Puritan's had rich hearts and were ready to discuss deep things because of what they read. May it be so with me and this generation.

Your boasting friend,

(HT: Between Two Worlds, for JI Packer comment)

Being salt and light - Gospel witness

Just saw this today on the Desiring God blog about President Obama's speech and John Piper celebrating the 'common grace' that is posited within the speech.

It resonated with me since I accepted a coaching position, somewhat forcefully, they called I accepted, to coach my son's fall ball team. To say that most of the kids home situations are either fractured or fracturing is an understatement, would it be that bad to wish them some of the grace, that I as a Christian, experience everyday, undeservedly so, but still that is the seed of the Gospel.

John Piper uses the term, "common grace", at the start, and I wonder if when we become so far along in our Christian witness we don't tend to feel a little comfortable with ourselves. "I" fear God, "I" pay my tithes, "I" fill in the blank, see my point is that if we would be out in the community and at least praying for opportunities to share maybe, just maybe these can be springboards by which the Spirit uses to open a heart. He does it friend, it isn't you no matter what you or I say, but don't blow the chance that "common grace" presents and go out to love on a baseball, football or basketball team. Hopefully the special grace to believe will be accepted and the gift of regeneration will happen before your eyes.

If it doesn't happen know that He is glorified no matter what. Say the word, show the gospel and love those who need a hand by "common grace" and maybe, just maybe that special grace will be lavished on them as well.

Your boasting friend,


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Gospel witness in light of pluralism

Just got through reading an excellent synopsis of the current state of the evangelical world and the understanding of the exclusivity of the Gospel of Christ.

Al Mohler shares with such keen insight that if you are not regularly checking his blog I think you would find it helpful. In light of the Gospel of Christ and your own daily intake.

Enjoy the read.

Your boasting friend,


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Gospel vs Legalism

How many times have you heard this?
"The Bible says - 'abstain from every form of evil", speaking of some type of action that one, was doing, or hasn't done, which they will not now, or ever will do, which needs to become known to all who are within their earshot or email shot...:) "Legalism" is the exact opposite of the Gospel of Christ, it depends on the outward, works of the flesh, to commend itself to God. They look at themselves and see some sort of purity that is commendable because, "we don't do this or that". It is every bit of Pharisaical, you know white washed toomish, dead mans bonesish...that sort of commendation. It is what God doesn't accept and will not accept in place of His Son.

[Just a note, regarding the exegesis of this text, "The verse is banning the practice of sin/evil in whatever form it occurs—whether lying, stealing, murdering, etc." from the Apologetics Press. So you see that it is banning the "practice" of such things. Now, I can see that someone would say, "well that is what I'm doing, I'm abstaining because I don't want to practice those things." I would say to that, more power to you, BUT don't let it become an excuse for casting stones. This calls us to "reflection" and not "reaction". So the spirit of the letter, to those in Thessaloniki, is where I'm coming from.]

Now like some, I do not think that we should forget this portion of the Bible just because some want to use it in a fashion that is contrary to the original meaning.We need to define the parameters by "what is said" vs "what is not said".

What is said is that we need to be aware;
  1. There is evil and it is not distant from us but in us. Jesus said, to his disciples, "if you then who are evil", there were no exceptions, no standard of righteousness, outside of his, that got a pass. Jesus didn't then go on to say, "well let's not be harsh or overbearing, I know you do good and I don't want to dismiss that." No, Jesus like Jeremiah in the OT knew the heart of man, it was/is "desperately wicked".
  2. Evil is not evil according to our understanding of evil in the world. Evil is that we don't acknowledge God every second of our lives, that we would defame him in a heartbeat or leave Him for any number of reasons. I cannot become the objective bearer when it comes to evil. This is where many Christians, especially those in denominations who would rather beat you than correct or affirm in love. My formative years were spent in a denomonation that did nither, in fact the very opposite is what they did. The logic of their views astounds me now and I have come to embrace a fundamentalism that is God centered and more faithful to the Scriptures. Why? Just as I pointed out above and I don't think it is a 'straw man' argument, there is an outward appearance that is applauded by the people of your own sect. Within your lofty grandeur, you sweep away the detractors as penance for persecution suffered. I have one sentence you can concentrate on to overcome that, are you ready? GET OVER YOURSELF, God certainly has and so have I...:)

What it is not saying; as I stated above is that, "we" define the parameters of evil. God does. So just because someone drinks wine they aren't evil, just because someone smokes a cigar they aren't evil. This is where it gets so muddled because people define it in nefarious terms. Yes, evil is evil and nefarious but when I am the one defining it I can be a detractor from the original intent of evil. Yes, the intention of God to ordain that evil exists is so that he could be seen more gloriously. As I've heard just recently in a John Piper sermon, "we are not duelists". What does that mean? It means that we don't believe that there is, God on one side, and Satan on the other and they are going, back and forth, tit for tat. That inculcates a weak view of God. God controls all things and sustains all things for His own glory, including Satan and his minions. He (Satan) is nothing but a lackey on a leash. So more important than what I "practice" it is at the very heart of the question that legalism cannot answer. Paul did answer. So it is not saying that the evil that is "out there" is what we should be concerned about it is the evil within our own hearts.

But this is the beginning of the Gospel that before time began God predestined many to become his children, because of His own determination, for His own glory. You are made to display his glory, no matter who you are. No matter what color, creed, or socio-economic status that you come from, you were made for Christ and until you settle that matter in your heart you may end up like the religious people above trying to compare yourself with everyone and in the end, I would fear, feeling comfortable about where you are. We definitely were made for treasuring and adoring Him but that isn't what people choose, in fact the opposite is what we choose, we choose sin because it feels good. See John 3:19. It is our natural bent and we will fall prey to deception, to the point that we will call good evil and evil good, it happens all the time. But God is on a rescue mission to those who know that they are drowning and they aren't looking for an appendage, you know Jesus is good as long as I get the car, house, etc... They are wanting what only God can give, and if it be that I lose everything, so be it, I want Him - don't give me anything but Him.

The evil that we abstain from isn't our recommendation to God for our lives, I'm sure that there are evils that are currently holding firm in my life, but for the grace of God, as displayed through Christ, I'm not destroyed. If you can say yes to that then you can come with me. Look to the cross, He is mighty to save.

Your boasting friend,


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Gospel (un)praying

"You don't realize -- and I'm not the religious type -- how many times you say, 'Please, God," he said. "When I saw that boat, I said, 'Thank you God. Thank you God.'

"I still can't believe it. Lucky. Lucky." - quoted by Nick Schulyer, sole survivor of the boat accident that killed 2 other NFL players and his friend who was a player for UCF.

This has to be the most incredible quote that I've read but I think it says much about those who aren't really affected by the gospel of Christ. God was calling and he felt it, he said as much, "Please, God", don't get me wrong I'm sure those were earnest pleas before God. As much as a dead man understands or knows God but this is the kicker and I don't think many reading the article will notice - "Lucky. Lucky."


I'm not at all coming down hard on this guy, we are all found in the same condition by God, dead and without life. But this is the life that is unaffected by the gospel, many prayers have been said like this in situations that could be life threatening but then once you get to the other side of the storm, "man was I lucky". I'm not saying that he should say, "I was 'blessed'", what an overused and obtuse term today that has everything to do with a 'positive mind' syndrome that is plaguing the church. What he should say is, "I can't believe that God heard my cry and rescued me, He is amazing and because of this my mind has changed about who He is and what He can and cannot do and I believe in Him, more specifically I believe in Jesus Christ."

Please don't get me wrong on this either, I wouldn't want it for the TV cameras or the publicity but that God would be rightly related to, that His mercies would be seen afresh and loved; not just seen as 'luck of the draw'. One day Nick will bow before God and I hope by then he will have acknowledged his mercies on this side of the storm.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Gospel Grace

"The human will does not obtain grace by freedom, but obtains freedom by grace."- Calvin's Institutes II.III quoting Augustine

Online with what I just posted this comment imbibes the same feel after reading the 'Confession' part of the Pray the Bible site. Reminds me of the great song that gives me the impetus to gladly proclaim, "Oh to grace how great a debtor, daily I'm constrained to be..." Why? "Prone to wander Lord I feel it prone to leave the God I love."

Calvin's pen seems to cut to the heart of the matter.

Boasting in His grace,


Gospel praying

Just found a website that is worth a visit. Matthew Henry's - Pray the Bible . It has been edited by Ligon Duncan, great stuff.

This feeble soul has found refreshment in praying and gaining a new heart of repentance. It has assisted me in veiwing God rightly and myself rightly as well.

I would encourage you to visit and meditate.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Opportunities abound - proclaim the gospel, start with yourself

"9 For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me." (I Cor. 15:9-10)

Notice how Paul will readily admit his own past but immediately turn it into an opportunity for boasting in the grace of God..."But by the grace of God I am what I am"...that is the gospel, preaching it to yourself. when those opportunities come to boast in the gospel, am I boasting in that grace that snatched me from the pit or am I wollowing in the pity and shame of my past?

What is instructive in this for us:
  1. boast in the gospel which comes by his grace.
  2. boast in what you know only as much as it will allow the grace of God to be shown more beautifully in your life.
  3. hard work involves mind work, using the "law of my mind", as Paul spoke of in Romans to overcome the self indulgent and provacative nature of the flesh.
Remember, the past is also the moment that just past, don't let another one go to waste w/o "boasting in the Lord" and his sovereign, electing, loving grace.

" you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ." (I Cor. 1:7b-8)

Your boasting friend.


Monday, July 13, 2009

Gospel diet #1

So in setting out to define we cannot just be satisfied with the idea in 'simple' terms. Yes the gospel is or can be simple in approach and presentation. But it must become more than this.
This is as deep and wide as God. So it cannot become simplistic but must take on the essence of the very One who gave it to us.

A little background into how I started on this. For about the last 2 1/2 years I've been reading through the bible, specifically the NT by reading it over and over and over... I actually do about 7 chapters a day in one book and go until I get to the end. So for instance it would be Matthew 1-7 for a month, 7-14, etc...then on the first of each month I transition to the next section. This is a method that John MacArthur uses and one which I heard Robert Jeffries say, "it took God 1600 years to write the Bible, why do we want to read through it in a year?". Not at all meaning don't do it but why not take our time and I would have to agree with that assessment.

My approach being what it was I wanted to do the synoptic gospels in a row, Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Asking the main question, "What is the gospel?". In other words, what do the gospel writers, inspired by the Holy Spirit, say is the gospel? What is the core that makes everything function in its proper form and purpose? What did Jesus believe it was? What did the disciples believe it was?

This is what, after 10 months of reading, I can put into a sentence: "The Gospel is the grace of God, as revealed through Jesus Christ, for God, and to rebellious sinners." This is by no means flawless but it presents some ideas that I think we can be edified with and allow us to look deeper into the scope of God's great grace.

I'll look at some of the words and phrases more time.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Joshua Project - Unreached People of the Day feed for your website

Joshua Project - Unreached People of the Day feed for your website

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Gospel diet

The Gospel is...facebook question.

But I don't want it to be that relative, I do want to define it. In fact this should be the most definable (if that is a word) thing in our lives. What is the gospel and how is that lived out on a daily basis. Michael S Horton said it best, "We can never assume the gospel; it has to be the staple diet not only for the beginning, but for the middle and the end of the Christian pilgrimmage."

So question is not just, do we know the gospel but do we live the gospel?

More later.